Wake Forest came into Stillwater and showed why it is ranked above all others.
Fans packed into Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center to watch the Oklahoma State men’s tennis team Sunday, but there wasn’t much to cheer about with the top-ranked Demon Deacons (5-0) dominating from start to finish in a 4-0 victory.
Not only is it the second-straight season top-ranked Wake Forest has won in Stillwater, but it is also now back-to-back years the Demon Deacons have handed the ninth-ranked Cowboys (8-1) their first loss.
Only difference is the Demon Deacons’ shutout OSU this time out – as last season the Cowboys neared an upset, falling 4-3. Oklahoma State coach Jay Udwadia, who won his 100th match as the coach in Stillwater on Friday against Northwestern, credited Wake Forest’s stellar squad, but he said his team could and should have faired better.
“I thought we didn’t maximize every opportunity we were given today in terms of a great team coming in,” Udwadia said. “Our guys played very hard. We could have done a better job of winning close and deciding points… and maybe being a little bit more aggressive on those big points.
“The start in doubles didn’t go as planned, and I thought in singles we could have done a better job of managing the first one or two points of every game.”
With losses from Julian Cash and Luke Hammond, and Brady Draheim and Jurence Mendoza, OSU dropped the doubles point for just the second time this season. It gave the Demon Deacons momentum going into singles play.
Both teams had four individuals players ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, but Wake Forest jumped out to early leads on a majority of the courts.
After dropping the first game, No. 6 Petros Chrysochos for the Demon Deacons found his groove against No. 94 Artut Dubinski on Court 2. Chrysochos won 6-1, 6-1, and on every other court except Court 5, the Cowboys neared another loss.
No OSU player quit, though.
Oklahoma State’s No. 55-ranked Mathieu Scaglia continued to fight back against No. 112 Bar Botzer on Court 4 while No. 125 Hammond made a push against unranked Julian Zlobinsky on Court 6. However, the Demon Deacons didn’t let OSU steal any momentum and allow the home crowd to get involved and boost morale.
As the final return from Hammond fell into the net, Zlobinsky and his teammates and coaches briefly celebrated the shutout while OSU and its fans let out a somber sigh.
“One loss won’t define us. It was a great team we lost to, but I don’t think we ever accept defeat. We try to learn and move on,” Udwadia said.
“…We just had a little hiccup, today. We are not going to hang our heads over it.”